In March 2023, authorities only just prevented a repeat of the 2008 crisis, leaving citizens to once again shoulder the cost. We can break this cycle. Help us change the rules of the game.


In 2008, EU leaders swore that taxpayers would “never again” pay for banks’ irresponsible risk-taking. Importantly, the post-crisis financial reform agenda promised to:

  1. Separate banks’ commercial and trading activities
  2. Reduce banks’ leverage
  3. Reduce the financial system’s procyclicality
  4. Prevent impacts of a single bank failure from spreading to the whole financial system by preparing “living wills” for banks


Under pressure from the financial lobby, these reforms were significantly watered-down or even abandoned: we did not split megabanks, banks’ leverage is still ridiculously high, and the European co-legislators are about to deviate from the internationally agreed bank “minimum safety rules”. They even lowered the safety standards for banks to handle synthetic securitisations, notorious for their role in the subprime crisis.


In March 2023 came the latest warning shot: We narrowly escaped a new full-blown global financial crisis, thanks to unprecedented public intervention in the US and Switzerland. Trust in European banks was shaken and we barely avoided a wave of contagion where  taxpayers’ money would have been lost bailing out too-big-too-fail banks.

Finance Watch is working hard to put ambitious financial reform at the top of the European agenda. As we take decision-makers to task during the 2024 EU elections – a crucial moment to raise the ambition for a safer financial system – we need your help more than ever! Even a small donation makes a difference…


Finance Watch is an independently funded public interest association dedicated to making finance work for the good of society. Its mission is to strengthen the voice of society in the reform of financial regulation by conducting advocacy and presenting public interest arguments to lawmakers and the public. Finance Watch’s members include consumer groups, housing associations, trade unions, NGOs, financial experts, academics and other civil society groups that collectively represent a large number of European citizens. Finance Watch’s founding principles state that finance is essential for society in bringing capital to productive use in a transparent and sustainable manner, but that the legitimate pursuit of private interests by the financial industry should not be conducted to the detriment of society.


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